10 ways to Unblock a Toilet

The frustration of a blocked toilet

Have you ever experienced the frustration of a blocked toilet? It can be an unpleasant and inconvenient situation that needs to be resolved quickly. In this article, we will explore ten effective methods to unblock a toilet and get things flowing smoothly again. From basic techniques you can try yourself to knowing when it’s time to call in a professional, we’ve got you covered.

how to unblock a toilet

Understanding Toilet Blockages

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s essential to understand what causes a toilet blockage and how to identify the signs. A toilet blockage can occur due to various reasons, such as excessive toilet paper usage, flushing non-flushable items like wipes or feminine hygiene products, or even a buildup of mineral deposits over time.

What Causes a Toilet Blockage?

Toilet blockages can occur when solid waste or foreign objects become lodged in the plumbing pipes, preventing water from flowing freely. Additionally, mineral buildup or sediment can accumulate over time, narrowing the pipe’s diameter and making blockages more likely.

Signs of a Blocked Toilet

Recognizing the signs of a blocked toilet is crucial for early intervention. Some common signs include water draining slowly after flushing, water rising to the rim, gurgling sounds, or unpleasant odors emanating from the toilet. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take action.

Prevention is Key

Before we dive into the methods to unblock a toilet, it’s worth mentioning that prevention is always better than a cure. By adopting a few simple practices, you can minimize the chances of encountering a blocked toilet.

Regular Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on your toilet is essential for its longevity and proper functioning. Regularly inspect the flushing mechanism and check for any signs of wear or damage. Also, consider scheduling professional plumbing inspections to identify and address any underlying issues before they escalate.

Proper Toilet Usage

Educate everyone in your household about proper toilet usage. Remind them to use an appropriate amount of toilet paper and avoid flushing non-flushable items like wipes, cotton balls, or sanitary products. These small steps can go a long way in preventing blockages.

Avoiding Flushing Non-flushable Items

One of the leading causes of toilet blockages is flushing items that are not designed to be flushed. Avoid flushing items like diapers, paper towels, or food waste down the toilet. Dispose of them properly in the appropriate trash bins to prevent clogs.

Method 1: Plunger

The plunger is a classic tool for unclogging toilets and should be your first line of defense against a blockage. Here’s how to use a plunger effectively:

  1. Ensure the plunger’s rubber cup is fully submerged in water.
  2. Place the plunger over the toilet drain and create a tight seal.
  3. Push the plunger down gently, then pull up sharply to create suction.
  4. Repeat this plunging motion several times until the water starts to drain.

Method 2: Hot Water and Dish Soap

Using hot water and dish soap is a simple yet effective method to dissolve a toilet blockage. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Heat a pot of water until it’s hot but not boiling.
  2. Add a generous amount of dish soap to the toilet bowl.
  3. Carefully pour the hot water into the bowl from waist height.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, allowing it to break down the blockage.
  5. Flush the toilet to check if the blockage has cleared.

Method 3: Toilet Auger

For more stubborn blockages, a toilet auger, also known as a plumbing snake, can come to the rescue. Follow these steps to use a toilet auger effectively:

  1. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl, aiming for the drain.
  2. Crank the handle clockwise to extend the auger’s cable.
  3. Keep rotating the auger while applying gentle pressure until you feel resistance.
  4. Once you’ve reached the blockage, use a back-and-forth motion to break it apart.
  5. Retrieve the auger, making sure not to damage the porcelain.

Method 4: Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you prefer a natural cleaning solution, baking soda and vinegar can help unclog your toilet. Follow these steps:

  1. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.
  2. Add two cups of vinegar and let the mixture fizz for a few minutes.
  3. After the fizzing has subsided, pour a bucket of hot water into the bowl.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Flush the toilet to see if the blockage has cleared.

Method 5: Enzyme-based Cleaners

Enzyme-based cleaners are specifically designed to break down organic matter, making them effective for toilet blockages. Follow the instructions on the product label, but generally, you would:

  1. Pour the recommended amount of enzyme-based cleaner into the toilet bowl.
  2. Allow the cleaner to sit for the recommended time, usually several hours or overnight.
  3. Flush the toilet to see if the blockage has been resolved.

Method 6: Wet/Dry Vacuum

A wet/dry vacuum can be used to suction out the blockage in some cases. Here’s how to use it safely:

  1. Set the vacuum to the wet mode and ensure the hose is securely attached.
  2. Insert the hose into the toilet bowl, aiming for the drain.
  3. Create a tight seal around the hose with a cloth or towel.
  4. Turn on the vacuum and let it suck out the blockage.
  5. Once the blockage has been removed, dispose of the waste properly.

Method 7: Plumbing Snake

Similar to the toilet auger, a plumbing snake can be used to clear blockages that are deeper in the plumbing system. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the plumbing snake into the toilet bowl and feed it slowly into the drain.
  2. Rotate the snake clockwise while applying gentle pressure.
  3. Continue feeding the snake until you reach the blockage.
  4. Once you’ve reached the blockage, use a back-and-forth motion to break it apart.
  5. Withdraw the snake carefully, ensuring not to damage the toilet bowl.

Method 8: Boiling Water

Boiling water can be a quick and easy solution for minor blockages. Follow these safety tips:

  1. Boil a pot of water on the stove or using a kettle.
  2. Carefully pour the boiling water into the toilet bowl from waist height.
  3. Allow the hot water to work its way through the blockage.
  4. Flush the toilet to check if the blockage has cleared.

Method 9: Coca-Cola

Surprisingly, Coca-Cola can be used as a toilet cleaner and unclogging agent. Follow these steps:

  1. Pour a bottle of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl, ensuring the entire area is covered.
  2. Let the soda sit for at least one hour, allowing it to break down the blockage.
  3. Flush the toilet to see if the blockage has been resolved.

Method 10: Contacting a Professional Plumber

If none of the methods mentioned above are successful, or if you’re uncomfortable attempting them yourself, it’s time to call a professional plumber. Here’s what you should consider:

  1. Assess the urgency of the situation. If it’s a minor blockage, it may be possible to wait for normal business hours. However, if it’s a severe blockage or causing significant inconvenience, you may need emergency plumbing services.
  2. Research and choose a reliable and licensed plumber. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family.
  3. Obtain quotes from multiple plumbers and compare their prices and services.
  4. Communicate the issue clearly to the plumber and provide any relevant information about the blockage.


Dealing with a blocked toilet can be a hassle, but with the right methods and a bit of patience, you can resolve the issue. Remember to start with the simplest methods, such as using a plunger or hot water and dish soap, before progressing to more advanced techniques like using a toilet auger or contacting a professional plumber. By taking preventive measures and being proactive, you can minimize the chances of encountering future toilet blockages.


  1. Can I use chemical drain cleaners to unblock a toilet? It’s generally not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners on toilets as they can cause damage to the porcelain and pipes. It’s best to opt for safer methods like plunging or using natural solutions.
  2. What should I do if none of the methods work? If the blockage persists despite your efforts, it’s time to call a professional plumber. They have the expertise and specialized tools to tackle more complex blockages.
  3. How can I prevent toilet blockages in the future? Preventing toilet blockages is possible by adopting good practices such as using a moderate amount of toilet paper, avoiding flushing non-flushable items, and scheduling regular maintenance.
  4. Is it safe to pour boiling water into a toilet? It can be safe to pour boiling water into a toilet, but caution is advised. Ensure you pour the water carefully to avoid splashing and wear protective gloves to prevent burns.
  5. How much does it usually cost to hire a professional plumber? The cost of hiring a professional plumber varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the blockage, the plumber’s rates, and your location. It’s best to obtain quotes from multiple plumbers to compare prices.
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